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Dorothy E. Withrow collection of World War memorabilia


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Withrow family from Philadelphia appears to have been an intensely patriotic family during both World War I and World War II.

During World War I, John A. Withrow (1882-1971) and his wife Edna M. supported the war financially through Liberty Loans, the Salvation Army Home Service Fund, and the War Chest. They also participated in fund raising for the American Red Cross. In addition to actively working for victory, the Withrows collected literature created during World War I; in particular propaganda material from Great Britain and the United States.

During World War II, John and Edna Withrow, along with their daughter Dorothy, participated in the homefront war effort. All three worked as air raid wardens in Philadelphia as part of the Philadelphia Council of Defense, as well as belonging to the United States Citizens' Defense Corps. In addition, they purchased war bonds, supported the British War Relief Society, and worked with the American Red Cross. Dorothy (1910-2000), a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, worked as a teacher in Philadelphia. In addition to the general propaganda, publications, and pamphlets her family collected, Dorothy collected some material regarding education in wartime.

The Dorothy E. Withrow collection of World War memorabilia documents the Withrow family's homefront activities during both World War I and World War II, as well as documenting the wars generally through propaganda, pamphlets, and publications. This collection, which dates from 1892 to 1951, consists of a very local view of World War I and World War II and also, a very global view, through national and international publications, many of which seem designed to sway the sentiments of Americans towards entering the wars.

The collection is arranged in three series, World War I, World War II, and Miscellaneous material. The first series, World War I, consists of American homefront activities, and publications from both Great Britain and the United States. The American homefront material largely documents John A. Withrow's financial support of World War I, through liberty loans, and other patriotic funds. In addition to fundraising records, awards and certificates, and other memorabilia of his and his wife Edna's activities, researchers will also find his draft registration card. The series also contains excellent contemporary publications about the war; indicating that the Withrows were aware of the long-lasting and extensive effect this war would have on their own futures as well as that of the nation and the world.

The World War II series again documents the homefront activities of the Withrow family, but in addition to John and Edna Withrow, this series includes the activities of their daughter, Dorothy E. Withrow who was a teacher in Philadelphia. The Withrows' material includes memorabilia and documentation of their service as air raid wardens in Philadelphia as part of the Philadelphia Council of Defense; of their financial backing of the war through war bonds; and of other active efforts to support the nation. There are artifacts from their homefront activities, including a compass, gas masks, a helmet, and a noisemaker. This series also includes propaganda, pamphlets, and publications created during the war by American, British, Indian, and German governments.

Finally, the Miscellaneous material series includes material that was not created during either of the World Wars; with the exception of one button which relates to the 79th Infantry Division, a division which served in both World War I and World War II. The rest of the buttons are unidentified.

This collection documents the World War experiences of non-combatants in Philadelphia, as well as how governments of the United States, Great Britain, and Germany used publications to influence their own citizens, as well of those of other nations.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Annalise Berdini and Steven Duckworth
Finding Aid Date
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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American Red Cross fundraisers, correspondence, patch, and receipt, 1917 August.
Box 1 Folder 1
British Empire Section, Liberty loans, Salvation Army Home Service Fund, War Fund, and War Chest, brochures, forms, receipts for contribution, and pennant, 1916-1919.
Box 1 Folder 2
Compass, circa 1914-1918.
Box 5 Item 2
Compass, instructions for using the "Sighting Compass", circa 1914-1918.
Box 1 Folder 15
Liberty Loans and War Chest buttons, circa 1914.
Box 5 Item 1
Registration card for draft for John A. Withrow (includes sample form), 1918.
Box 1 Folder 3
Photographic History of the Great War: A Contemporary Record of Epoch-Making Events from Official Documents, Diplomatic Correspondence, Military Orders, and Photographic Exhibits, parts 1-5, edited by Francis Trevelyan Miller, 1914.
Box 1 Folder 4
Photographic History of the Great War: A Contemporary Record of Epoch-Making Events from Official Documents, Diplomatic Correspondence, Military Orders, and Photographic Exhibits, Volume I, Numbers 6-9 and Volume 2, Number 1, edited by Francis Trevelyan Miller, 1914-1915.
Box 1 Folder 5
American Association for International Conciliation, Numbers 97, 99-101, 103-108, 1915-1916.
Box 1 Folder 6
United States Food Administration publications, circa 1917-1918.
Box 1 Folder 7
United States War Information Series, Numbers 2 and 4, 1917 August.
Box 1 Folder 8
Miscellaneous publications ("Two Views about this Country" and The Conflict for Human Liberty, by Viscount Grey), 1915.
Box 1 Folder 9
Miscellaneous publications (A Declaration of Interdependence; "The Songs of the Boys," edited by Albert N. Hoxie; The Common Cause: Britain's Part in the Great War, by Otto H. Kahn; Criticisms about Y.M.C.A. War Work and Answers, by John R. Mott; "A Suspect Manifesto and a Neutral Expert;" "Patriotism," by the Union League of Philadelphia; and "Explanatory Memorandum by Provost Marshal General [to be inserted in questionnaire]"), 1918.
Box 1 Folder 10
Post-war publications (Should America Accept Mandate for Armenia? and The Field Artillery Journal, by the United States Field Artillery Association), 1919, 1921.
Box 1 Folder 11
Scraps of Paper: German Proclamations in Belgium and France, 1914.
Box 4 Folder 1
The Freedom of the Seas, by Arthur J. Balfour, M.P.; Black List and Blockade, by Lord Robert Cecil; The British Share in the War, by H.A.L. Fisher; Peace Proposals and the Attitudes of the Allies, by Prime Minister D. Lloyd George; Why Britain is in the War and What She Hopes from the Future, by the Right Honorable Viscount Grey of Fallodon; and What is England Doing, by Alfred Noyes, 1915-1916.
Box 1 Folder 12
The Battle of Jutland, by John Buchan; Supremacy of the British Soldier, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; The League of Nations, by Viscount Grey of Fallodon, "The British Commonwealth of Nations," speech by General J.C. Smuts; "General Smuts Message to South Wales," speech by General J.C. Smuts; and The Murderous Tyranny of the Turks, by Arnold J. Toynbee, 1917-1918.
Box 1 Folder 13
"The Battle Fronts of Europe," map, undated.
Box 4 Folder 2
German Prisoners in Great Britain and "The Crimes of Germany," a Special Supplement issued by The Field, undated.
Box 1 Folder 14

Air raid wardens, list of day and night phones for alert, circa 1941-1945.
Box 2 Folder 1
Air raid wardens, responsibilities with Hunting Park Safe and Sane Fourth of July Association activities, flyers and instructions, 1943.
Box 2 Folder 2
American Women's Aid for British Service Women, appeal for "Necessity Packages", circa 1939-1941.
Box 2 Folder 16
British War Relief Society, flyer and knitting patterns for cap muffler, thumbless mittens, and balaclava helmet, circa 1939-1945.
Box 2 Folder 17
Civilian Defense War Bond Committee, award certificates, 1943-1944.
Box 4 Folder 3
Correspondence, form letters and Christmas cards from organizations, a letter to Dorothy Withrow from Molly Waterhouse regarding teaching, and several postcards to the Withrows from soldiers, 1939-1943.
Box 2 Folder 3
Gas Masks (two), circa 1941-1945.
Box 5 Item 3-4
Helmet (probably related to air raid warden duties), circa 1941-1945.
Box 5 Item 5
Noise Maker, circa 1945.
Box 5 Item 6
Rationing, application for sugar rationing book and notes, 1942.
Box 2 Folder 4
United States Civil Defense Corps and other organizations (unidentified) arm bands, circa 1942-1945.
Box 2 Folder 5
United States Citizens' Defense Corps poster and certification cards (not Withrow), circa 1943-1945.
Box 2 Folder 6
War loans, poster, 1945.
Box 2 Folder 7
Withrow, Dorothy E., certification cards for the American Red Cross, British War Relief Society, Pennsylvania State Council of Defense, and Philadelphia Corps of the United States Citizens' Service Corps; certificate of award, volunteer hours card, and knitting receipts, 1941-1945.
Box 2 Folder 8
Withrow, Edna M., certification cards for the American Red Cross and the United States Citizens' Defense Corps, 1942-1943.
Box 2 Folder 9
Withrow, John A., certification cards for Philadelphia District Civil Defense, State Council of Defense, United States Citizens' Defense Corp, and United States Treasury War Finance Committee; draft registration card, air raid warden badge; telegram to employees of Charles Bond Company regarding the bombing of Tokyo, and awards, 1942-1945.
Box 2 Folder 10
Civil Defense (Fire Guard Instructor's Manual and Rules and Regulations), 1943.
Box 2 Folder 11
Education in Wartime ("How to Read the News," Education and National Defense Series, Pamphlet No. 16 and What the Schools Should Teach in Wartime, by the Educational Policies Commission), 1942-1943.
Box 2 Folder 12
Saturday Review of Literature, 1940-1944.
Box 2 Folder 13
Tanks and Armored Vehicles, by Lt. Col. Robert J. Icks, 1945.
Box 2 Folder 14
War Atlas for Americans, Council on Books in Wartime, prepared with the assistance of the Office of War Information, 1944.
Box 4 Folder 4
Miscellaneous publications (Bombs for Berlin, supplement in Philadelphia Inquirer; and Saturday Evening Post), 1942.
Box 4 Folder 5
Miscellaneous publications (Target: Germany, published in cooperation with Life Magazine; One World, by Wendell L. Wilkie; and The War for Freedom), 1942-1943.
Box 2 Folder 15
Miscellaneous publications (The Winning the War in Europe and the Pacific, by General George C. Marshall), 1945.
Box 3 Folder 1
Newspaper and magazine clippings , 1936-1945.
Box 3 Folder 2-4
British publications (50 Facts about Britain at War; Another 50 Facts about Britain at War; 50 Facts about British Women at War; 50 Facts about India; 50 Facts about Social Services in Britain; A People at War: Life in Britain Today; H.M.S. Britain's Fighting Navy; K-H News-letter; The Listener; Picture Charts of Britain at War; R.A.F.; and Seven Million Against the Darkness), 1940, 1942-1943.
Box 3 Folder 5
German publications, in English ("Adolf Hitler's Speech on the occasion of the Anniversary Meeting of the Old Guard in the Burgerbraukeller in Munich;" "Britain and France Responsible for the War;" "Never Again;" Speech delivered by Her von Ribbentrop, Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs; and The Case of the Athenia, by German Information Service), 1939, undated.
Box 3 Folder 6
Indian publication (Indian Information, Volume 13, No. 117), 1943 July 1.
Box 3 Folder 7

Buttons (79th Infantry Division button related to either World War I or II; others are not clearly related to either war), circa 1914-1951.
Box 5 Folder 7
Historical and Commercial Philadelphia, 1892.
Box 3 Folder 8
German currency, 1923.
Box 3 Folder 9
Philadelphia Civil Defense Council, brochure entitled "Instructions for Civil Defense Emergencies" and certification cards for John A. and Dorothy Withrow; and New York State Civil Defense Commission Public Pamphlet #1, entitled "You and the Atomic Bomb: What to do in case of an Atomic Attack", 1951, undated.
Box 3 Folder 10

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